Language Activist Flees Kazakhstan After Investigation Opened Against Him.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh language activist has fled the country after authorities launched a probe against him on a charge of inciting ethnic hatred over his YouTube videos showing him demanding people in public places speak Kazakh to him instead of Russian.

Quat Akhmetov's lawyer, Abzal Quspan, told RFE/RL on August 31 that his client fled to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

"It is not clear if he will stay in Kyiv, it will depend on human rights activists there," Quspan said, adding that Akhmetov decided to leave the country after the Prosecutor-General's Office opened an investigation against him for inciting ethnic hatred.

The charge against Akhmetov stems from a series of videos placed on his YouTube channel , Til Maydani (Language Front) Online Party, where he and his associates are shown visiting shops and entertainment sites in the former Soviet republic, demanding people provide service in Kazakh instead of Russian.

If convicted, Akhmetov faces up to seven years in prison.

Akhmetov's videos sparked a negative reaction in Russia, where state media called him and his videos "Russophobic," and the Interior Ministry barred him earlier this month from entering Russia for 50 years.

On August 19, Almaty city police briefly detained Akhmetov and charged him with administrative offense over his videos. A court fined him $340 the same day.

While Kazakh is constitutionally mandated as the Central Asian country's state language, Russian is also an official language in the former Soviet republic.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Russian Court To Hold Hearing In November Into Jailed U.

Russian Court To Hold Hearing In November Into Jailed U.

A court in Russia will hold a hearing next month into an appeal by Paul Whelan, a former U.S. marine who is serving a lengthy prison term in Russia on espionage charges he calls trumped up, over his possible transfer home.

Radio Free Europe

Climate change fuels drought, starvation worldwide - DW News.

Climate change fuels drought, starvation worldwide - DW News.

Six years ago, the UN set the goal of ending world hunger by 2030. Back then it seemed like an attainable target, but not anymore. It's now estimated that over 800 million people around the world do not have enough to eat. The island of Madagascar...

California Residents Getting Deliveries, Drilling Deeper Wells To Get Water.

California Residents Getting Deliveries, Drilling Deeper Wells To Get Water.

NBC News' Jacob Ward speaks to residents in rural areas of California about how the drought has impacted their water usage as the state struggles with supply.  » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of in...

Watch live: Boris Johnson visits scene of MP Sir David Amess’s death as two properties searched.

Watch live: Boris Johnson visits scene of MP Sir David Amess’s death as two properties searched.

Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after being stabbed multiple times at his constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea. Police have declared the murder a terrorist incident and Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader have laid flowers at t...

Let’s stop talking about celebrity weight loss

Let’s stop talking about celebrity weight loss

Adele’s new single “Easy on Me” has dropped, but people are still talking about her weight loss more than her music. From Adele to Jonah Hill to Lizzo, it seems we can’t stop picking apart celebrities’ bodies, and it needs to stop, says CNN entert...

Live: Biden delivers remarks at 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service - NBC News.

Live: Biden delivers remarks at 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service - NBC News.

Watch live coverage of President Biden as he delivers remarks at the 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service to honor fallen heroes. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and ...

3 46

Power Of Idol: How ‘BTS’ Changes The World From The Global Stage.

Power Of Idol: How ‘BTS’ Changes The World From The Global Stage.

Following their stellar performance and speech at the 2021 United Nations General Assembly, NBC News Now Anchor Aaron Gilchrist takes a closer look at why K-pop group ‘BTS’ is getting involved in global activism, and why it’s working. » Subscribe ...